TMP Reviews : Mr. Poppers Penguins

This movie’s original intention was probably purely for kids.  However they have found many ways to intrigue the whole family. Every line in the movie attempts to be a joke or lead up to a joke. The idea in essence is a great one, as many of the jokes do click and will make you laugh out loud. Other jokes, while some maybe funny, felt out of place or rushed to the climax rather fast.

The Basics:

Cast: Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino, Madeline Carol, and Maxwell Perry Cotton
Written By: Sean Anders, John Morris
Directed By: Mark Waters

The story follows Mr. Popper (Jim Carrey) as he has become a workaholic buying real state in supposedly greedy ways. He tells stories to reluctant sellers about traveling the open seas and living a wild life once they sell their estate to him. These stories are inspired by the real travels his father has done. Slowly he has become one of the best, and has earned his way to potentially getting his name carved right into the company he works for, literally. The final space he needs to buy happens to be Tavern on the Green though, and the seller, Mrs. Van Gundy (Angela Lansbury), is not planning on selling it to just anyone.

This so happens to be where the moral of the story and the down to earth parts kick in. Mr. Popper seems to be following in his dads footsteps. He used to keep in touch with him over CB, but his father was constantly gone and out of touch, usually missing birthdays while he traveled the world. Mr. Popper seems to be struggling with similar issues. The tough life of his dad constantly being away has washed away any emotion he has for anything, which made him and his ex-wife Amanda (Carla Gugino) all the more distant. While Carla Gugino’s performance is stand able, it’s nothing like her acting in Sucker Punch. Going on with the story Popper also has two kids, Billy (Maxwell Perry Cotton) and Janie (Madeline Carroll) which both put on absolutely fantastic performances.

Sadly Mr. Poppers father died, and when given the news, Mr. Popper is also given a penguin. He opens the box and out comes the little thrasher, already making you laugh and awe at its cuteness. Of course Jim Carrey uses his charm to make things all the better and the story never backs down from using its perks. Meanwhile the overall story is about Popper finding himself and becoming the caring person he once was using the charm of these penguins to bring the family closer.

His daughter constantly has boy trouble, and slowly Popper figures out how to talk to her and communicate what he needs to say. However several other aspects of the story build in similar ways, and will give you a many heartwarming moments.

The Delivery

Facing facts, this movie is about penguins doing unbelievable things; so in order to enjoy this movie you are going to have let go of reality for an hour. Nothing in this movie makes any sense all of the time, so be prepared to let it go. They even joke about this early on when a Penguin finds himself on top of a TV, Mr. Popper (Jim Carrey) turns and asks “how is that even possible?” and the penguin replies with a little shrug. This allows the movie to open up a ton and bring you into a magical world where penguins are cute and annoying at times.

To be honest there were many times during this movie where I started to think about Alvin in the Chipmunks, with the only difference being the penguins don’t talk and have a creative way of going about things. Some of the aspects should have been a little more fleshed out, but that was somewhat expected when we decided to go see a family comedy anyways. Each penguin has a funny name that is based on how they act, but I feel that is a bigger part of the movie so I won’t ruin it in a review.

The negative aspects of this movie are nothing that are ruining. Is it Jim Carrey’s best film? No it’s a bit far from it, however he still finds a way to make you fall in love with his character and works well with the whole penguin aspect. In fact the entire main cast that include his whole family are absolutely fantastic in this film. It was more so the side characters that got included in the movie that I didn’t like. You have a zookeeper (Clark Gregg) that didn’t seem to care about his role at all, let alone the scripting for him sounded extremely amateurish. Poppers assistant Pippi (Ophelia Lovibond) did a great job in her role, but her character has a perk of saying everything with P’s. The first few times it was funny, but after a while it got a little annoying.

I was also expecting more physical humor out of her character as well, but nothing ever really came of it. Lastly there doesn’t really feel like there is a strong antagonist in this film. There are many things going against Popper, but nothing too major and it gives you an unfinished feeling after a while. Most of my issues come from the script, which seems like it was put together rather fast, luckily Jim Carrey is capable of working magic.

Overall I wasn’t disappointed with the film at all. I got what I wanted, a nice little family flick. Like I said earlier, I feel the movie should have released closer to Christmas though. It would of done much better and the feeling of it would have been much easier to grasp with the Christmas spirit running through you. There are some minor flaws, but with other comedies making the same mistakes when they have ten times the budget and don’t need to pertain to family what’s to complain about? I laugh a whole lot more during the goofy humor in this flick than, well, the last movie I reviewed.

The Scorecard

Acting: The main cast including Popper, his wife, and kids are absolutely fantastic. Pippy is also pretty fun to watch. However the script is what makes a lot of the flaws come out in the other characters, odd dialogue and a lot of on the spot improv was needed almost everywhere.

Direction: Like most films I have a feeling Jim Carrey did a lot of the magic, however the directing was solid when needed, but has its moments of questioning.

Writing: The main weakness I see in the film really. Some of the moments feel really ameturish, a lot like the first Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Sound: There is only one nagging thing I had about the sound, and it was Loudy. The penguin that liked to make the Penguin sound extremely loud. It started hurting my ears. Overall pay attention because there are a lot of quick smart remarks from Popper that made me laugh out loud.

Visuals: Its a family movie so there really isn’t a whole lot to be done. However the penguins are spot on and completely believable, up until they do some of their actions. You will be in awe at their cuteness and it makes it all the better.


Like I said I laughed a lot during this movie and I really enjoyed it a lot. Did the fact Jim Carrey was in it make me a bit bias? Maybe, or maybe its just a good family comedy. It did make my girlfriend laugh a whole lot more than the movie mentioned earlier, and she said she was even on the verge of crying proving how well some moments were done. The movie does have its flaws and it isn’t going to be an instant classic any time soon, but it will be worth watching during the holidays when it releases on Blu-ray/DVD which is what I think Fox was aiming for anyways.

Overall I give Mr. Poppers Penguins a 7 out of 10. I wouldn’t rush out to see it in theaters, but be sure to pick it up over the holidays.